Triple H vs. Scott Steiner has become one of the worst World Championship feuds of all time. Scott Steiner was hot at the time of his WWE debut and on paper, a match with Triple H sounded like a good idea.
So what exactly was wrong?
The feud started hot
Steiner’s WWE debut was awesome! Steiner entered WWE as an absolute badass, looking like one of wrestling’s biggest stars. Steiner came down to the ring at Survivor Series 2002, he knocked out everyone standing in the ring, then cut one of his classic hilarious promos. With a ton of momentum, Raw and Smackdown were trying to sign Big Poppa Pump and a bidding war broke out between Eric Bischoff and Stephanie McMahon. Steiner decided to sign with Raw, on the promise that he would get a World Heavyweight Championship match (and also because Stephanie McMahon turned down his sexual advances…).
Meanwhile, we were right in the middle of Triple H’s reign of terror and so The Game obviously wasn’t happy that Steiner was awarded a World Championship match without winning it (despite Triple H himself having received the world championship without winning it a few months earlier.)
It was a good start to a feud, but things quickly started to go downhill. For some reason, Steiner and Triple H started competing in strength and muscle conditioning contests. It was supposed to be a play on superstar Billy Graham’s arm wrestling challenges, but it really didn’t end. Steiner and Triple H both had big bodies so it was pretty impressive…but the fans weren’t interested at all.
Steiner and Triple H competed in an arm wrestling contest, which unwittingly came across as a comedy segment with the faces the two men were pulling. Steiner won the Arm Wrestling Match, but again no one really cared. The following week saw a bodybuilding contest and even fewer people cared. As we know from the failure of Vince McMahon’s WBF bodybuilding promotion, wrestling fans don’t care less about bodybuilding. Again, it played out like a comedy segment with Steiner and Triple H yelling at each other while doing muscle poses.
The following week saw a Bench Press Contest with similar results. While the feud got off to a hot start, weeks of these contests had well and truly cut the wind from Steiner’s sails, although there were a few things that worked against Steiner at the time.
Steiner has been terribly booked in WWE
Scott Steiner was brought to WWE as a babyface. While it was okay for the first month or so while he still had the momentum of his debut, the babyface role was clearly holding him back. Steiner was never really allowed to go wild in his promos like he did in his WCW days. Steiner without a script had turned him into WCW’s biggest star and that’s what Steiner’s fans wanted to see, but his WWE promos turned out to be rather sanitized compared to his WCW promos. If Steiner had been allowed to go wild in WWE, fans might have rallied behind him, but WWE wasn’t ready to let Steiner off the leash.
Even though Steiner had carte blanche to say whatever he wanted, it was clear Steiner was dealing with a heap of injuries. When it came time for Steiner to perform in the ring, he was completely exposed.
Triple H defended the World Heavyweight Championship against Scott Steiner at the 2003 Royal Rumble and the match quickly fell apart. Steiner was clearly down at this point in his career and he was gassed fairly early in the game. Steiner was clearly in trouble and to make matters worse the crowd completely turned on him, booing him at the end of the match.
Steiner won the match by DQ and then WWE decided to do the rematch at No Way Out 2003. The rematch saw the same story, Steiner entered the match as a babyface but got booed at the end of the match thanks to a poor performance. With two back-to-back stinks, WWE scrapped any plans they had for Steiner and he was pushed down the card.
Rather than hide Steiner’s weaknesses, WWE exploited them and Steiner was completely exposed. Steiner’s obvious shortcomings earned the Royal Rumble match the Wrestling Observer Newsletter’s “Worst Worked Match” award and with a rematch of similar quality, this feud will go down as one of the worst World Championship feuds of all. time.
Scott Steiner is one of the most polarizing and controversial wrestlers with his brash attitude, who had mixed feelings towards other wrestlers.
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